I’ve seen Millennials referenced as a generation poised to remake the world in their own image. Personally, I think we would all be better off for it if they, in fact, finished the task. So much of who they are and what they believe, starting with themselves and their own extraordinary potential, positions Millennials to help us return to the best side of humanity. A place they are clearly committed to, given their care for our common future and passion to make a positive difference in it.

One thing I am certain of, is that the work ahead for this young generation will be exceptionally challenging and take everything they have. As X-ers and Boomers, many of us representing the current leaders in place, it will be our job to do all that we can to ready them for this challenge.

In their new book, Learning Leadership, authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner write, “To develop as a leader and do your best, you have to step outside your comfort zone. It takes courage to learn. When you challenge yourself, you’ll be doing things that scare you, there will be fear and uncertainty.” For Millennials, there are few things more important in their development than the growth that comes from dealing with fear and uncertainty. One of my deepest held beliefs is that strength is built in the struggle, and having them live into crucible moments in these early stages of their leadership and life is the jet fuel to prepare them for the work ahead. The work ahead for us will require:

Humanizing Yourself
Being transparent and vulnerable – human, not super human – is an imperative for the leaders in place, to model their own struggles and make it safe for those they are developing to struggle. Not to be perfect – to be human.

Trust Building
A Kouzes and Posner classic is, “people won’t believe in the message until they believe in the messenger.” Mentoring and developing another human being simply cannot happen without real and authentic, trust-based relationships in place.

Providing Crucibles
A crucible is a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity. Managed appropriately, and enacted with good intent, these experiences can provide exponential lift in the growth and development of our next generation of leaders.

Helping them See Failure as Feedback
Our Millennials will most likely face failure when they step outside of their comfort zone, do things that scare them, and experience crucible moments. Helping them see failure as feedback, as an indication of work in progress, will allow the learning to continue.

Being Fierce
In Fierce Conversations, author Susan Scott writes, “While the desire to please is not a flaw, at crucial crossroads we sometimes go too far.  Way too far.  When faced with a so-called moment of truth, we find ourselves chucking the truth over the fence or tucking it behind the drapes in exchange for a trinket of approval.” For our Millennials to grow through the pain, we must, at times, interrogate realities, possibly at the expense of losing those trinkets of approval.

In Learning Leadership, Jim and Barry go on to say, “None of this is easy. Leadership is hard and challenging work. There are times when you will suffer. There will be conflicts and struggles.” We all know that we learn by doing, and in the case of the pending struggles the millennial generation is facing, the time is now for them to experience the fear and uncertainty that will go along with them. And all along the way, this extraordinary generation of Change-makers will build the strength required for them to finish what they’ve started.



Mark Fernandes

Mark Fernandes

Having a passion for inspiring people to believe in themselves and become everything they are capable of becoming, Mark works with individuals and organizations to inspire transformation. @MarkSFernandes

close slider

    Subscribe to the InnerWill email for inspirational stories and tips on how to build engagement, trust, and success at work and beyond – delivered right to your inbox every Monday morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.